The Impacts and Management Implications of Climate Change for the Australian Government's Protected Areas

2008

Hyder Consulting
Report to the Department of Climate Change and the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, March 2008

Summary

Introduction

This report is one of a number of technical scoping studies being undertaken by the Department of Climate Change with the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. These include, among others, an assessment of climate change impacts on the National Reserve System and on World Heritage Areas. Development of each of these preliminary assessments involves consultation with key experts and stakeholders, including States and Territories, to complete the expert technical assessment. The views and opinions expressed in the report are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Australian Government.

The report was prepared under the Australian Government's National Climate Change Adaptation Programme which is initiating actions towards preparing Australia for the impacts of climate change. The importance of managing Australia's biodiversity in the face of climate change is recognised in the commitments made in the National Biodiversity and Climate Change Action Plan 2004-2007 and the COAG National Climate Change Adaptation Framework. These reports are one of a number of sources of information that the Australian Government will use to inform action on climate change.

Purpose of Report

Prepared by Hyder Consulting, the report pulls together existing knowledge on biodiversity and climate change to outline the impact climate change is likely to have on protected areas managed by the Australian Government. It also investigates the consequences of these impacts for the management of the protected areas. The report provides a preliminary technical overview of the state of knowledge on climate change and the Australian Government protected areas, including the likely impacts, key risks and knowledge gaps relevant to reserve system planning and policy decisions.

The report examined the impact of climate change in relation to twenty protected areas managed by the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, and declared under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act), comprising six National Parks; the Australian National Botanic Gardens; and thirteen Marine Protected Areas. A number of marine protected areas in the process of being declared are not included within this report.